United States PV advocates – we are celebrating a huge win with the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) exempting bifacial modules from Section 201 tariffs! Bifacial modules will now no longer pay a fee of 25% added to the cost at the point of import into the country.
Big thanks to Abby Hopper and the Solar Energy Industries Association for getting this done, with strong member support from Craig Cornelius and Ray Long of Clearway Energy Group. If you are not a SEIA member, please join now and be part of the organization driving change and enabling a clean future for us all.
As part of the second and last round of exclusions from the Trump administration’s solar tariffs, the USTR declined to exclude 72 cell technology or other products or those without busbars or gridlines.
pv magazine’s John Weaver states in an article on the decision, “The effect will be blunted for large projects with long construction timetables, but there is probably a developer on the phone right now, who sees a chance to change products getting put on a boat somewhere because the savings could be relatively substantial. A module that cost 25¢-35¢ per watt pre-tariff, will now save 6¢ to 9¢/W in the U.S. market by switching to bifacial. For developers seeing all-in pricing around $1 per watt-DC, a system price decrease on this level is significant. As these groups are already going all in on single axis trackers that are specifically designed to make use of bifacial modules, it could be that utility-scale product shifts will be limited, as the market has already shifted to greater adoption of bifacial technology.”
My takeaways from this policy:
1. US PV utility markets will get significantly stronger as projects on the margin are now financially viable.
2. the U.S. utility market will be dominated by FSLR and bifacial crystalline modules within a year.
3. trackers, which have much better bifacial harvest than fixed systems, continue their market share increases.
4. Developers/owners are receiving a windfall for projects – no need to cut corners with tier 2 equipment and installation.
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